Testament’s Chuck Billy Talks New Album Timeline, Management Company + More
Testament vocalist Chuck Billy has entered the management game as one of the founders of Breaking Bands LLC. We recently caught up with the veteran metal frontman, and he spoke about his involvement in mentoring younger bands and entering the business side of rock. He also revealed that Testament are working on a brand new album with tentative plans for an early 2015 release. Check out our interview with Testament's Chuck Billy below:
Let’s talk a little bit about Breaking Bands, What made you want to decide to delve into the management side of the industry?
Well, I’ve been doing it long enough and I’ve been really involved in everything with Testament for a long time. The last couple of years we were kind of self-managed. When it came down to it after I toured, I definitely wanted to be a part of it. It’s a lot of work but doing it -- things that I’ve done for my band and what I’ve went through -- I’m getting the opportunity to help out other bands and help their careers through what I’ve learned especially with the newer bands that we’ve signed. I have a lot of opinions on how to have a successful and long career and try to do the right things and make the right choices.
What advice would you offer to younger bands out there?
Once you find your niche and the kind of music that you’re playing, you have to believe in it. You can’t jump on the trend and play what’s popular now. It was all about major labels and there seems to be a lot of independent labels taking over the metal world and music world in general. There’s always those key things like the rights to your songs and music and keeping those rights. You never know down the road you might exercise them and use them and have them available to you. It’s worked out for us that way. We started our company in 1994 and every record we’ve delivered has been ours including the master. We’ve vowed over the years that we would retain our masters and own it.
Any new acts out there that you particularly enjoy?
There’s a lot of them, there’s so many new metal bands -- Whitechapel, for example. There’s a lot of new thrash bands that I enjoy. I like all different kinds of music but in metal there’s so many good bands our there now. When I meet these younger bands it’s like, “I’ve been listening to Testament for a while” and it makes you feel good because in return I get inspired by those bands and influenced, too, when I write or create. It comes full circle, they’re inspired by us and now we’re inspired by the new flavor.
We recently spoke with Adrian Erlandsson of the Haunted. How was it working with them as the guest vocalist on the track ‘Trend Killer’?
I didn’t actually get to work in the studio with them. They sent me the track and I recorded it here. We toured with them years ago and I’ve been a fan for a while. When [Patrik] Jensen asked if I was interested and that Marco [Aro] was back in the band I said, “Sure.” Even if he wasn’t back I would have wanted to do it and when I got the song and heard it, it was brutal. [Laughs] I was like, “Man, this is going to be fun” and I did have a lot of fun doing it.
What can we expect from Testament for the rest of this year and beyond?
Well we’re in the middle of writing a new record right now. We really didn’t play a lot this year. We were focused on writing this record and getting it done. We played a few small tours. We’re doing the Motorboat Cruise and Knotfest and that’s it for the year. We’re hoping to have the new record out early next year, maybe March or April, something like that. Then the cycle starts over. We’ll probably hit the road for a year or two, easily.
Many thanks to Testament's Chuck Billy for the interview. Learn more about Breaking Bands LLC at this location. And look for them on the Motorhead Motorboat Cruise and playing Knotfest this fall.